Welcome to this week’s round-up of interesting equality and diversity stories we came across. Highlights include – UCL Provost writes on equality and diversity, culture of acceptance around mental health in academia, NUS launches leadership programme for women, photo project against racism by Harvard students and report on violence against women in Europe. 

Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost of University College London, wrote on equality and diversity for his ‘long view’ column, focussing on recruiting a more ethnically diverse workforce (currently, only 85 professors in the UK out of a total of 18,510 are black) and advancing women’s careers. He said rethinking recruitment and spreading ownership and leadership of this set of issues across the university were some ways of moving forward and added: “UCL may be full of exceptionally bright people, but we need to accept that we will inevitably have blind spots in our knowledge of how its culture affects people who are different from us.”

A post in the Academics Anonymous series being run by the Guardian discusses the culture of acceptance around mental health issues in academia. The author, a researcher development officer, sees PhD students regularly and writes: “It is all too common to see PhD students work themselves to the point of physical and mental illness in order to complete their studies. It is less common to see PhD students who feel that they are under such pressure that the only option is suicide. But it does happen.” The article received a huge response with many shares and comments, following which the Guardian published a post with experiences of mental health issues in academia around the world. It was discussed that university staff battling anxiety, poor work-life balance and isolation aren’t finding the support they need.

As part of their work on Women in Leadership, the  National Union of Students has launched a Women’s Aspire Leaders Programme. The overall aim of this programme is to increase promotion, retention and the number of women in senior leadership positions so that the student movement can be more representative of its membership. Women non-student staff who are aspiring to be leaders within the student movement can apply for a place on the programme.

A group of black students at Harvard have launched a photo project ‘I, Too, Am Harvard’ depicting the institutional racism they have experienced. The photos show black students holding up boards reading comments like “Can you read?”, “I don’t see colour; does that mean you don’t see me?”, “You aren’t black on the inside.” Inspired by this photo project, students at Oxford started their own photo campaign last Sunday ‘I, Too, Am Oxford’.

Lastly, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights has published a report from the first of its kind survey on violence against women in 28 European Union member states. Based on the detailed findings, the report suggests courses of action in different areas that are touched by violence against women and go beyond the narrow confines of criminal law, ranging from employment and health to the medium of new technologies.

Have something to add? Write to Equality.and.Diversity@lse.ac.uk